ASMS­­—Mass Spec Still a Hot Topic

The 55th American Society for Mass Spectrometry (ASMS) Conference on Mass Spectrometry and Allied Topics took place at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, Indiana from June 3 to 7. Just a week earlier, Indianapolis was the sight of the famous Indianapolis 500 race, but for MS enthusiasts, this was the week to be in awe of high-performance engines. New mass spectrometer offerings were clearly in evidence (see page 7), but so were new ways to address the challenges facing scientist worldwide.

As usual, the gathering began early with numerous user meetings on Saturday and Sunday that were extremely well attended, attesting to the keen interest that scientists have given to MS and the promise it offers in so many fields. Given the fact the Indianapolis is a bit difficult to get to, a dedicated lot we all are.

Attendance was up again this year, but only slightly (0.9%), continuing years of steady growth not equaled by most other conferences and exhibitions. In addition to the 6,450 ASMS attendees, there were 183 exhibitors, an increase of 28%, which reflected the expanding influence of MS and the greater emphasis being given to the commercial aspects of the field by the sponsors.

In addition to the excellent technical program, user meetings, workshops and lunchtime seminars, there were three media events or press conferences, which was a five-year low. Media participation was minimal, although some securities analysts were in attendance. We would not be a surprised if press conferences were discontinued.

The topics at ASMS were wide ranging, which is a function of the number of posters and oral presentations (over 2,500) and the many ways MS is applied. The graph below illustrates the relative frequency of various topics led by Q-TOF MS, LC/MS/MS and ion trap MS. While there seems to be a decline in each of these topics as compared to 2006, it is the terminology that is evolving and more categories pop up each year, such as ETD/ECD, HDMS and Orbitrap.

In addition to product introductions, several system-solution approaches were promoted by suppliers. Waters showcased its IdentityE System for qualitative proteomics. Both Bruker Daltonics and Shimadzu presented MALDI tissue imaging system solutions, which include sample prep products, MALDI TOFs and associated software: the Shimadzu CHIP/AXIMA Tissue Imaging Platform and the Bruker approach which includes its new ImagePrep device teamed with the Autoflex TOF/TOF, Flex Imaging and Class Imaging software. Both approaches target growing interest in biomarker detection, tissue classification and the distribution of drugs and drug metabolites in tissue. Next year, ASMS will be in Denver, Colorado, from June 1 to June 5, in a continuing effort to avoid overlapping the Memorial Day holiday.

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